For the 2011 baseball draft, we’re welcoming yet another generation of young, emerging talents. But they’re not the players of the past that seemed so unreachable and out-of-touch with the average fan. No, instead, they’re players that have become successful because of their own unorthodox approach to the game, as well as their overall attitude; modeling MLB leaders and fan favorites like San Francisco Giants starting pitcher, Tim Lincecum.
I was pleased to read in Steve Gilbert’s article, that positive talents and attitudes are now getting their due recognition. To that point, UCLA right-handed pitcher, Trevor Bauer was selected as the third overall pick in the draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. On Bauer’s Twitter account (@BauerOutage) he acknowledged the selection, saying “Officially a Diamondback. Thanks to all the fans, players, coaches, and friends that made my time at UCLA so enjoyable.” He then referred to his first scheduled start for the Diamondback’s organization, saying, “Starting with high-A Visalia Rawhide on Saturday.”
While social media has changed the way athletes can interact with fans (though it’s still a bit unorthodox), we all know that players aren’t drafted because they are affable and post on Twitter. A quick look at the numbers shows why Bauer was a top selection. Not only was he the first UCLA player to win the Golden Spikes Award, but from 2009 to 2011, he went 34-8, with a 2.36 ERA in 373 innings, notching 460 strikeouts! Highlights for this lanky right-hander (similar in build to Tim Lincecum) included a 10-inning complete game against Nebraska and a 17K performance against Standford. All in all, Bauer finished just 31 strikeouts shy of Lincecum’s Pac-10 record.
Like Lincecum, Bauer’s mechanics may look violent and his strikeouts easy, but his methodical foundation and history can’t be overlooked. One of the best interviews I’ve read with Bauer was conducted by John Klima of Baseball Beginnings, further delving into the physics and precision that actually went into Bauer’s development, as well as Bauer’s mention of his father’s involvement. Much like Lincecum’s father, Bauer’s father used videotaping to observe, review, correct release points and delivery styles to improve his son’s mechanics.
During the interview, Bauer stated, “My dad is an engineer, so there’s a lot of math and science. If you see me out here during practices or bullpens, I have a little camera that I made a fence mount for. You can see the tape on the fence right in the bullpen. I film my bullpens and warm-ups my hand dead center in the frame so I can see how the ball moves as it’s coming to the plate. A lot of stuff is very scientific that I can use to help me pitch well.”
Also like Lincecum, Bauer has a positive outlook and love for the game he’s played since childhood. In the same interview with Baseball Beginnings, Bauer discussed his passionate outlook on baseball, saying, “I don’t know how to describe it. It’s what I live for. I love the competition. I love the adrenaline rush. I’m not that way too much in day-to-day life, but that whole ‘In your face” mentality isn’t part of me in everyday. I’m a very non-confrontational person. When I go out there, that’s kind of my time to fulfill that. The time on the mound is sort of that outlet for that side of my personality. I walk off the mound and whatever. I think that’s why I can be even keel. I don’t feel the need to be outward with the emotion. It’s more part of the fun.”
Here’s to the newest Diamondback, Trevor Bauer; may he never lose his passion and love of the game. His unorthodox approach to the game and his positive attitude seem to be a winning combination. I’m sure he’ll become an immediate fan favorite in the D-Backs organization!